Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sir, I Exist

I slept until 9am this morning, lulled by rain water trickling down the gutter outside my window. Now at noon, the sun is high in the sky and begging me to go outside.

If today is anything like the other days, I probably won't.

I worry about talking so much about writing here. First of all, I worry it sounds like I'm complaining. Life is hard, I get rejected, boo hoo.

That's not my intention. I'm not one of those people who think just because they want something they're entitled to the thing. I know it takes hard work and commitment to get what you want. I don't expect the world to roll over and notice me because one day I announced "Today I am a writer."

One of my favorite poems is by Stephen Crane:

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."

These few words so accurately sum up my worldview, it's best to leave it at that.

Secondly I worry about calling myself a writer prematurely. Mentally I always precede the word with "aspiring." That's stupid, isn't it? I don't need permission from an outside entity to change the noun I call myself. Validation would be nice, sure, but not permission.

Unless I start calling myself Doctor Folly, in which case, by all means, stage an intervention.

It's not been a bad week overall. I finished a draft of a story, and will be having it critiqued on Saturday. I'll incorporate the feedback and submit it by Monday. I attended a reading by Paul Park at the University of Washington Bookstore (my first visit.) I will be seeing Neil Gaiman speak on Sunday. I registered for a conference and I joined a professional organization, and am looking at a second to join. And I've been reading classic science-fiction stories to learn more about the genre. Yesterday I rewatched a documentary on Harlan Ellison called "Dreams with Sharp Teeth." Listening to him rant is always interesting.

I've also been trying to read John Gardner's "The Art of Fiction" and "On Becoming a Novelist," but his opinion of genre writers is so low I have a hard time getting through it.

Of course I'm writing, too. Just not very fast. Without the writing, there's no point in any of the rest of it.

All of this is to say, my dear void, I hope I am not boring you.

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